It’s been about a year since Forbes magazine published an article featuring the sales-related quotes from 62 of the world’s best hawkers. Sales specialists such as author, venture capitalist and former Apple Computer Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki, Bob Perkins, the founder of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals and Ken Krigue, President and founder of InsideSales.com, convened online for The Inside Sales Virtual Summit in June 2013 to discuss and share their most prized sales philosophies. That conference, the largest of its kind, was broadcast to over 15,000 registrants worldwide.
While W. Randolph Kauffman, president of Super Cool Sites didn’t participate in that online conference, his 42 years of sales experiences certainly qualifies him as a sales expert. His first sales position was selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, an experience that lasted six months and led him to selling insurance. He founded his web site entity in Columbus in 2004, which now employs five other people.
Kauffman does not believe in degrading his competition in order to make a sale. Doing so “makes you look bad,” he says. However, he does not believe he violates his own rule when he compares his product with a competitor’s.
DC Stanfa is also a sales veteran with decades of experience. The Florida-based sales executive for packaging manufacturer RockTenn agrees that denigrating a competitor is poor business. “Don’t bring in any negativity on any level,” she says.
Savvy sales suggestions As experienced sales people, Kauffman and Stanfa have developed their own styles and sales philosophies, although they agree on at least one strategy: building relationships is imperative for a successful sales career.
Beyond that, Stanfa says it is important to earn the trust of potential clients and then follow through with any commitments you have made to customers to maintain that sacred trust.
Kauffman, who is a student of body language and the study of personality traits, also reads books about sales techniques to hone his skills. A favorite is The Ultimate Sales Machine, written by Chet Holmes. He likes it because it offers “great tips.”
Sales Don’ts Equally as important to knowing what to do to close a sale is recognizing the behaviors that can prevent a sale.
For example, Kauffman says it is imperative to be certain you are speaking with a “qualified prospect.” It is simply a waste of time to charm a company representative if they don’t have the authority to approve a sale.
Another mistake Kauffman says to avoid is talking non-stop about your product without checking with the potential client if the goods or services in question will satisfy their needs. “Continually ask questions so you know where you stand with the client,” he says.
For her part, Stanfa says timeliness is paramount, so being late or missing appointments are absolutely unacceptable. Maintaining a professional demeanor when dealing with clients is imperative, and behaving in any other way can and will damage your reputation, and likely, your bottom line.